As a new parent, you want to provide your infant with the best medical care possible, which can be done through regularly scheduled visits with a pediatrician. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infant pediatric visits begin at three to five days after birth. Continuing visits are recommended at 1 month of age and continue at 2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 months of age.
At each pediatric visit, the doctor conducts developmental screenings and other tests to create a record of your child's growth over the first year. Here is a list of some of the tests and screenings that are conducted during a child's first year.
Infant Growth Screening
At each scheduled visit, a pediatrician will measure your child's body length, weight, head circumference, body mass index, and blood pressure. Your child's growth rate will then be compared to the national standards of growth for other children.
During these visits, tell your pediatrician about your child's eating and sleeping habits and how your child is progressing with movements such as holding toys, rolling over, and crawling. Your daily observations can alert your doctor to other tests that may be warranted to keep your child healthy.
Infant Umbilical Cord Screening
As your child grows, their umbilical cord stump will heal and shrink away. At each visit, your pediatrician will check for an umbilical cord infection that can be indicated by redness, swelling, and discharge.
To aid in healing, keep your child's umbilical cord stump dry and clean. Do not cover it with a bandage or a diaper. When needed, you can gently clean the cord stump with a cloth moistened with clear water and thoroughly dry it with a soft cloth.
Infant Sensory and Cognitive Screening
Your physician will conduct sensory tests to observe your child's hand-eye coordination and ability to listen and respond, coo and make sounds, and recognize your voice and touch.
To encourage your child's cognitive development, talk to your child often, make eye contact when you speak, and repeat the sounds that they make in response to you. Playtime is learning time, so play with your child continually throughout each day.
Infant Blood Screening
Your pediatrician will prick the bottom of your child's foot to draw blood to send to a medical lab. The lab will analyze this blood sample to test for predisposition markers that may indicate future growth or genetic disorders.
Infant Vision Screening
Your pediatrician will check your child's vision at two to three months of age with a simple test. The doctor will move a toy in front your child to observe how your child's eyes focus and move to track the toy.
A comprehensive eye exam is given at six months of age to test for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. If the pediatrician observes any irregularities, they can refer you and your child to an ophthalmologist for further tests.
Infant Hearing Screening
Your pediatrician will test your child's hearing by making sounds in the examination room to observe how they hear and respond.
The doctor can also insert a soft earphone into your child's ears to measure the reaction of the inner ear to a series of clicking sounds produced by an electronic device. The doctor can also place electronic sensors on your child's scalp that will measure brain activity in response to sounds.
Your pediatrician will recommend a schedule of immunizations for your child to prevent childhood diseases. These diseases include chickenpox, diphtheria, influenza, hepatitis A and B, tetanus, whooping cough, and others. The vaccines for these diseases can be administered during your child's scheduled pediatric visits.
For comprehensive assessment and complete pediatric care of your child, contact Valley Pediatric Clinic. We specialize in infant and child care and can care for and support you and your child through all ages and stages of growth and development.